7 Foods to Help Fight Depression

There’s no magic cure to stop depression. It takes a lot of work. Having a solid treatment plan is the best way to combat it. But there are other things you can do on your own to help your mood and keep depression at bay… that includes what you eat. We all know we should be eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while cutting down on processed food. But sometimes that feels like an unrealistic goal. Instead, just try to incorporate a few of these 7 foods that will improve your mood and fight depression.

1. Carbohydrates and Whole Grains

pablo.pngWhen looking for foods to help fight depression definitely consider whole grains. These high-fiber “smart carbs” are great for a quick mood boost. Complex carbohydrates release seratonin, making you feel happier. Try to avoid simple carbs and sugary foods. Instead turn to whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta. They can really help with stress.

2. Low-Fat Dairypablo(1)

Dairy is great for your body for a variety of reasons, but low-fat dairy is the richest source of two important nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. In addition, dairy has specific proteins called peptides that help relax you and give you a sense well-being. Try skim milk, yogurt and low-fat cheeses.

3. Turkey

vegetables-glass-meal.jpgYou may associate tryptophan with feeling tired after eating a Thanksgiving meal, but it turns out the chemical in turkey also has big health benefits. Tryptophan stimulates seratonin production, giving you a natural happy feeling. Keep in mind most lean proteins are good for fighting depression, but turkey is the best option thanks to tryptophan. You might just want to take a nap after eating it!

4. Fatty Fish Like Salmon and Tuna
salmon-seafood-fish-restaurant-cuisine-gourmetIf you guessed omega-3 fatty acids for the reason why salmon and tuna are on the list, than you’re right. The fatty acids found in the fish have brain-boosting properties to help fight depression, according to research published in January 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fatty fish is also good for overall health, they improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the body. It’s not just salmon and tuna that have these properties. Also try mackerel or bluefish! A serving a few times a week could do great things for your mental health!
5. Green Tea
green-tea-press-flowers-kitchen-drink-beverage.jpgGreen tea is a great source of antioxidants, but it’s also a great beverage for fighting depression. The amino acid known as theanine is naturally found in tea leaves and provides a natural anti-stress benefit. So if you’re a coffee drinker (like I am) try switching to cup of green tea every once in awhile to absorb some of its relaxing benefits.
6. Walnutswalnuts-nuts-peeled-baking
If you’re not a fish fan, or want another way to get those omega-3s, try walnuts. While most nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, walnuts are the best for fighting depression because they are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Dark Chocolate
close-up-of-dark-chocolate-pieces-and-cocoaCan’t forget about desert! While most people would say they feel happier after eating chocolate, it turns out that chemically that might actually be true. Dark chocolate helps release seratonin and relaxes the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. So in addition to tasting amazing, also know it really can make you feel better! It’s a good excuse for the next time you indulge.
There are a lot of great foods to help improve your mood or fight depression, but if you’re really struggling, just don’t leave it up to your diet. Talk to your doctor and counselor about the best treatment plan for your condition, but that does generally include making sure you’re taking care of your body. So try these foods they could make a big difference!
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Fighting Through the Winter

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I go through waves. Periods where I have a lot of energy and interest in writing, and periods where I can only focus on my required responsibilities. The latter time period is usually called winter. It’s hard for me to get the energy to sit down and write when it’s dark and cold. Now that spring is here I’m spending more and more time working on projects… and it’s coming just in time.

My digital marketing company is actually doing quite well. I have a few clients and it really feels like this is a viable business for me. This is a HUGE change from a year ago when I was on medical leave and not sure where I was going to turn next. Things were tight for awhile, but I’m finally making it all work. Check out my new website: warrcreativemarketing.com.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 6.23.51 PMNow that I’ve shamelessly plugged my job, here’s what else has been happening. I’ve become an Ambassador for a company called Quartet. They aim to help physicians recognize the signs of a behavioral health condition in patients, and get them the help they need. I’m a volunteer giving advice on the best way to talk about and receive help for mental illness. The other ambassadors are some of the strongest people I’ve gotten the pleasure to meet. Many of them dealing with chronic health conditions. I really feel like I’m making a difference and that’s the most important thing to me. I recently wrote a blog for Quartet for Mental Health Awareness Month. Click Here to check it out.

Many of you know I took an incredible trip to Europe. My boyfriend Austin and I made it to 6 countries in 17 days. I needed about 2 weeks just to recover. Immediately before we left I signed up to run the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. It’s a 10 mile run. The only reason I thought I might be able to do it is because most of it was flat or downhill. I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve only ever run a 5k… and not that well. But after losing two weeks of training to the Europe trip, and another week recovering from a stomach bug when I got back, I didn’t know if I’d ever cross the finish line. Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 6.37.25 PM.pngI decided no matter what I was going to do it. My mom came up from South Carolina to cheer me on which really meant the world to me. A week ago I set off from the starting line in North Philadelphia just hoping I could make it to the Navy Yard 10 miles away. Luckily I had a friend with me who is also a fairly slow runner. She was having knee problems and we vowed to take it easy. Somehow without walking any of the course, we made it across the finish line. I’m amazed and so happy I set this goal for myself and made it. and honestly it is a blast. If you’re ever interested in running a longer race. This one is the best, the fans along the way are so supportive and it’s hard to fail.

So I’m hoping this summer brings more good things. I’m still struggling with energy levels, but hopefully changing some medication soon will help with that. I just want to keep running, keep building my business and continue being a voice for others who struggle with behavioral health issues. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

img_3448Two weeks in a row? What’s happening with me! I had a few days where I actually felt like I had a lot of energy, so after getting a bunch of work done I decided to work on my blog.

Last year I posted pumpkin muffins. They’re low-calorie and low-fat. They are still pretty good. But this year it’s not about restricting. You shouldn’t have to feel bad about food. It’s about making food you love and enjoying it. Just don’t go overboard. That’s the point of Treat Yourself Tuesday. So this year here are much more indulgent, but probably much more delicious, pumpkin muffins.

 

What you’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (an extra 1/2 tsp for topping)
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar (an extra 1/4 cup for topping)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp cold butter (for topping)

img_3447Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, oil, water, eggs and pumpkin. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Spoon batter into muffin cups (about 3/4 full).

In a separate bowl mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cut in pieces of the butter and mash together with your hands until the topping is chunky. Sprinkle this mixture over the muffins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the muffins and come out clean.

Enjoy fall! Enjoy muffins!

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Treat Yourself Tuesday- Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin

img_3077Hi Everyone! I know I haven’t been posting much, if you read my previous entry this week, you’ll know I’m struggling with the energy to keep this going on top of work and my recovery. But I’m just going to work on it as I can. I made this awhile ago and I’m excited to share. My parents loved it… although they would probably say they loved dirt if I made dinner haha. So here we go.

Note pork loin and pork tenderloin are actually different cuts of meat. A pork loin is much thicker and comes from the back of the pig. It also comes as different names like top loin roast or center-cut. The tenderloin is Is taken from the muscle situated alongside the backbone of the pig. It’s much smaller. You can also make this recipe with a tenderloin, you’re cooking time will just be different- much less.. but the process of coating it is the same. I’ve made it with both kinds of cute and found the tenderloin dried out quicker, even though both are very lean cuts

What you’ll need:

*note you may need more based on the size of your loin/how many people you’re feeding. The loin I made was 2lbs and would feed at least 4 people.

  • 2 lb pork loin (The butcher will ask you how much. Honestly Just eyeball it.)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If your pork loin came with a large layer of fat, remove it img_3075and just leave the nice lean meat. Rub the loin with olive oil.

On a plate combine the rest of the ingredients on a plate and roll the pork loin in the bread crumb mixture until it’s completely coated. Place on a baking sheet (throw a sheet of aluminum foil on there for easy clean up!) and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Pork temperature can vary now. Anywhere from 145 degrees to 165 degrees. I prefer mine closer to well done, and I think this recipe still kept a lot of the moisture in. But if you like yours a little medium, the lower temperature is just fine.

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Let the loin rest for a few minutes before cutting and serve! If you’re looking for a few sides try my recipe for Green Bean Fries or Thyme & Honey Glazed Carrots

Rumination: How One Word Takes Over Your Life

**note: I actually dictated this post on my phone while I was driving from a friend’s back to Philly. When I didn’t have anyone to take my mind off the stress, and nowhere to go, I turned to my phone. I knew I couldn’t write so I spoke it- forgive the stream of consciousness writing. It was written a few weeks ago so any reference to time may be a little dated.

If you’ve ever dealt with depression or anxiety, doctors or psychologists will often talk about rumination- or how your thoughts ruminate to the point where you can’t let them go. While I’m making big strides in my fight against depression and anxiety this is the one thing that still constantly comes back to haunt me. These thoughts are things I can’t get out of my mind. Whether their rational or not they stick with me consume me until I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy or completely broken down.

Generally it happens when you have a lot of downtime. For me I think it happens most when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’ll be tired all day, and finally lay down in bed only to start stressing about things from the past…things that haven’t mattered in years… or completely irrational things I know aren’t even possible. Even when I tell myself it’s OK there’s nothing I can do, it’s a struggle to try and let it go.

The other time it happens a lot to me is during long car drive. While I try to occupy my mind with music or podcasts, every once in a while driving down the highway I start to feel anxious. I don’t even know what I’m anxious about. There doesn’t really have to be a reason, but I feel anxious. The scary thing is there’s not a lot I can do. I feel trapped in a small box. I can’t listen to guided meditations because I actively have to keep this car on the road. I could of course pull over if I really needed to and take a few minutes, or stop somewhere along the way to get my mind off of things, but sometimes all I want is to just be home. It seems the quickest way to get there is to just keep going.

A lot of things in my life feel like they’re getting so much better. My panic attacks happen much less frequently and more days are good days, but this loss of control over what I think about is painful. More than the thoughts themselves, the anxiety comes from knowing I can’t shake it off. It’s something I’m working on fighting but it really takes a lot of my energy.

I’ve been so happy to work for some really great people who understand that work-life balance is incredibly important. I’m also happy that my schedule is so flexible. If I have a bad day I can take time for myself, and that helps the recovery.

But between trying to pay the bills and getting better one major thing has slipped through the cracks: this blog. I’m OK with putting it on the back burner while I try and get myself together but I really wanted to try and create a safe space for others may be going through something similar. I wanted to create recipes so that other people who also struggle with an eating disorder can maybe feel better about their relationship with food, but while the recipes are stacking up I’m either too busy or too exhausted to post. I tell myself it’s OK, and my therapist tells me it’s OK, but it still bothers me.

I know I’m not the only one who has to choose to prioritize how to spend their days. Many people struggle with the exhaustion and the rumination much worse than I do.We’re not lazy because we can’t work in an office every day and we’re not lazy because we take lots of naps, we do it because we have to.

This week has been especially hard because I’ve been very sick. My body doesn’t quite know how to shake it, and because I can’t be as active it feels like some of my symptoms of anxiety are getting worse. It’s funny that something as simple as a cold can feel like it’s derailed a lot of your personal growth. It’s weeks like this that remind me I still have a long way to go. And that might be an expensive journey considering Obamacare doesn’t have the best co-pays for outpatient mental health, but that’s a whole different blog post. (Trust me after I got my 2017 quote, I’m definitely writing one.)

For now I’ll just say that even when you think you’re doing so much better (and you are!) it doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s a much longer journey than any of us ever expect whether it’s extremely mild or severe it’s a long battle.

So for all of us suffering from some sort of mental illness- thank you to all of those people in our lives who are patient while we continue to improve. It means the world to have people who understand it’s not an overnight fix. And as for me I’m working on different methods to combat my ruminating thoughts this blog post was one of them. I can honestly say now that I’ve reached the end of it, that writing it (or dictating it rather) really did help.

Going Back to Work After Depression

Once I officially left my job in broadcast news, I didn’t know when or how I would go back to work. For awhile I was on medical leave, but at some point when I got a lot healthier and still realized i needed a break from news, I officially left. Now that the paychecks weren’t coming in what was I supposed to do? And was I healthy enough to go back to working 40 hours a week? The answer at the time was no.

I wasn’t worried about my next career step at the time. I figured if worse comes to worse, I would work at a coffee shop part time while I got myself figured out. But I got lucky, and I fell into something really amazing.

I started off looking for freelancing jobs on a website called Upwork. In the meantime I started dog sitting for the website DogVacay. (But come on… PUPPIES!)

I picked up a few freelance jobs and fell in with two really amazing jobs. The first is helping a phenomenal woman grow her podcast. Check it out. It’s called The Big Leap Show, and it talks about women entrepreneurs and businesswomen who have made a big changes in their lives. It resonated with me considering I just went through by own big change.

The second job is incredible. I’m freelancing with a start up real estate company, and doing their digital marketing. It’s amazing because they’re investing a lot in me, and I’ve gotten a chance to learn so much already. I only had a little work to begin with, but they liked what I did so I got more and more work.

I think the best thing about freelancing is that I work from home. I don’t have the stress of getting up and going in to work every day. I still work… a lot. But it helps my stress and anxiety to be able to work on my own hours for the most part. Plus I can still watch the dogs for a little cash on the side since I’m home all the time. (YAY PUPPIES!)

So sometimes even when I have really bad days, I realize I’m so lucky. I’ve somehow started to pick up the pieces. I’m finding a job I’m happy with, but is low stress and still gives me the flexibility to heal.

If you’re battling depression or are falling apart at your job, know you’re not stuck. I somehow found something great that works for me.

 

Treat Yourself Tuesdays- Homemade Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

IMG_2737IMG_2739Mmmmm pizza. Really what else can you say about it? It’s also this week’s Treat Yourself Tuesday. This week’s post was recommended by a great friend of mine! So if you ever have any ideas for a post let me know!

The nice thing about making pizza is you can top it with whatever you’d like. This gives you the opportunity to throw in some veggies and get a little extra nutrition. Treat yourself this week, and enjoy this pizza one night.

My sauce recipe is also perfect for any pasta dish you may want to cook up.

What You’ll Need:

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry yeast (1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees)

(If you have a bread machine, throw all the ingredients in and put it on the dough setting. The wet ingredients should be on the bottom, and the dry on top. The yeast should be the last thing you put in. If you don’t have a bread maker, read on.)

Add the sugar and water in a large bowl until dissolved. Add in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes. The liquid should be foamy. Stir while adding the olive oil.

In a separate bowl, add together the flour and salt. Add the wet and try ingredients together. Knead together until dough forms. (I would suggest dusting your hands in flour). When you get a smooth ball, put it in a oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a clean towel and leave to rise for an hour.

For the sauce:

  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoesIMG_2735
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 very small white onion chopped.
  • olive oil.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped tomato, stirring occasionally until somewhat caramelized. Add the rest of the ingredients. When it starts to bubble, turn down to a simmer. Leave on the stove for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep tasting and add anything you think it needs.

What you need for toppings:

  • 1 oz package of fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil leaves
  • *any other toppings you desire.

IMG_2734Preheat the over to 450 degrees. When the dough is done rising, roll out into one large pizza, or two small ones. Because this is a thin crust pizza, the dough doesn’t behave as well. Stretch out, or use a rolling pin to roll out the dough extremely thin. Place on a baking sheet. Slice the fresh mozzarella and put it on the pizza. Add whatever other toppings you decide to use. I used sliced peppers. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Take out when the cheese is melted and the edges of the crust begin to brown. Take out of the oven and top with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy your fresh crispy thin crust pizza!

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Delicious Summer Recipes!

I’ve been lazy about positing. Mostly because I’m at the beach, and unfortunately I’ve still had quite a bit of work to do here. But here’s something I wanted to share for awhile! I know for many summer might be winding down, but lets face it, it’s still going to be hot for awhile. So if you’re still looking for a great treat here’s some delicious summer recipes for your next BBQ, or just to keep cool.

Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped CreamIMG_2506

This is the perfect treat to cool down, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. (Although admittedly it’s just so much easier. Wish list for Kara: ice cream maker to go with my KitchenAid blender.) It’s only a few ingredients, so prep only takes a few minutes. The whipped cream makes for a really delicious addition, especially when the sorbet begins to melt.

 

basil watermelon slushWatermelon & Basil Summer Slush

A great drink to cool down with! If you’re planning on having people over on a hot August day, this is the perfect thing to cool them down. (If you really want to have a party just add a shot of vodka 😉 haha.) It’s extremely flavorful and the flavors are perfect for summer. The recipe makes one drink so make sure to multiply if you’re having company!

 

IMG_1482Seared Tuna with a Chili Soy Blood Orange Glaze

I love this recipe. I’m also a sucker for seared tuna. This works well for summer because it’s still somewhat cold. The edges are seared but its not a heavy or hot meal. Technically blood oranges are a winter fruit, so you may have some trouble finding them. If you can’t, you can always use regular oranges. Crush a few raspberries into the marinade and that will be closer to the flavor of a blood

orange.

salmon with border

Grilled Salmon with Ginger Soy Glaze

Fire up the grill. This is another great fish dish for summer. This glaze is incredible and really infuses a lot of flavor into the fish. Add some grilled veggies as a side and you’ve got an entire meal. It’s also much a quick and easy meal to make during the week. This is also a great option for those who want another option for the grill besides meat.

IMG_2510Savory Sweet Potato Burrito

I love sweet potato burritos. It sounds funny, but it’s amazingly good. I first had one at this great place in West Philadelphia. I then tried to replicate the recipe to the best of my abilities. I never thought about a sweet potato burrito before, but really it’s pretty incredible. This is another delicious summer recipe. If you haven’t had sweet potato in Mexican food before, definitely give this a shot.

 

 

Image-1-1Grilled Chilies Rellenos

Another great Mexican-inspired dish.  love the added tastiness of the grill, however you can of course do this in the oven. But who doesn’t love the taste of the grill? The mix of the poblano pepper, cotija cheese and chicken thighs is awesome. I think chicken thighs are really underutilized sometimes. This is something a little different than just the typical burgers and fries to throw on the grill.

 

zuchhini pasta w/ borderZucchini Pasta w/ Old Bay Ship, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Corn

Zucchini pasta is such a great option for summer! It won’t weigh you down in the same way normal pasta will. Plus who doesn’t love Old Bay on shrimp? This is a great light summer dish that’s perfect for dinner. Zucchini pasta is extremely easy to make. You don’t even need one of those veggie pasta makers. I just use my cheese grater! Use all the great summer vegetables in this dish.

bruschetta with borderSummer Bruschetta

I really am not a fan of raw tomatoes. But I love this bruschetta recipe. Fresh tomatoes, corn and goat cheese makes for a delicious summer recipe! This is also such an easy and great option for entertaining. Check out the recipe!

 

FullSizeRender(3)Egg White Lemon Crepes w/ Berry Filling

A light crepe filled with summer berries! The light lemon flavor really comes through nicely in the crepe. These are really easy and quick to make. Top with some tasty whipped cream and serve it up for breakfast. Great for yourself or the entire family. You can really put any berries in the filling, but take advantage of all the in season berries. They’re so good right now!

IMG_2432Green Bean Fries

This is a great side dish for the summer. If you’re firing up the grill for burgers and want a side of fries, here’s a summer veggie option instead. They aren’t the same as normal fries obviously, but they’re crispy and delicious. A quick breading and they’re off in the oven. So easy to make! Think of this side the next time you’re making dinner or want a healthy snack.

 

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Fresh Corn & Quinoa Congee

I am sorry to all the people out there who have grown up with congee. This won’t be nearly as wonderful as anything your family used to make. But man this is still a delicious recipe. Quinoa is an awesome substitute for rice, and the fresh corn screams summer. It’s a great breakfast or lunch option. Honestly, I could eat it all day long.

 

IMG_1791Green Pea and Avocado Soup

This soup is great for summer, not only because of the fresh peas and avocado, but because this can be served hot or cold. I’m not the biggest fan of cold soups, but this is really flavorful and perfect when you don’t feel like eating something hot in the summer heat! Serve alone or with any protein you want. I chose fish. YUM.

 

So this is the 2016 list. Let me know whether or not there’s anything you like to see, or if you like the recipes or not!

Struggling With Depression in Broadcast News

With some inspiration from a former employer and mentor, I decided to begin to talk about paying attention to how our co-workers are handling stress in the workplace. The post on LinkedIn is titled Struggling With Depression in Broadcast News. Check out that link. For those of you who want a little more background before reading the article, keep reading here.

B_UvXfxWsAEeZOHFor 6 years I worked as a TV producer at several local stations. If you don’t know anything about the industry it’s rough. Many of the shifts have bad hours, when breaking news happens get used to long days and on top of it all you’re often dealing with very sensitive and upsetting topics. It’s hard and it takes its toll.

The day of the Boston Marathon bombing, I was in the control room live on the air. Then the news broke. For the next four hours I was managing the details, setting up interviews, giving my anchor new information, guiding the production crew, making new graphics and getting new video on the air. I did have help, but still it was a lot. It wasn’t until after I was done for the day I realized the gravity of what had happened. The saddest thing for me that day, was that I didn’t even have any emotions about the events until after the fact. It was a job, but realizing how desensitized you’ve become to tragedy is upsetting.

And I only work for the news! There are so many people working hard jobs with long hours and stressful situations. Look at hospital workers, firefighters and policemen. That’s just a small number of jobs that can wear you out. And if you’re like me, you care too much about what you’re doing.

So we need to begin to help each other and look out for warning signs of depression. Many people look ok, but are suffering in silence. We should at least be able to talk about this more so people aren’t afraid to ask for help. I’ve gotten a lot of great responses from this article. So please check it out. Let me know what you think. Start a conversation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad and detached, you’re not alone. Many of us have been through it. I’m not a doctor, I’m not an expert, but I’ve someone who has been through it who is willing to listen.

Kara

Treat Yourself Tuesday- Crispy Fried Chicken

IMG_2607What? This girl from the northeast is making fried chicken? Now southerners, don’t get upset with me. I’m not claiming to know everything about fried chicken, but I’ve found a pretty great recipe.

Now traditionally I do healthier food on this blog, but I also post a Treat Yourself Tuesday segment. The point of this is to allow yourself some freedom in food. Many people struggle with their perceptions of food. But we also need to be able to enjoy foods we love, without feeling guilty. So every once in awhile it’s ok to treat yourself.

Now we get to the fried chicken! Yes it is fried, but at least your getting a lot of good protein. Add some sauteed spinach on the side for vegetables (see below for a quick recipe), and you get a lot of nutrition. Most days you may want to opt for roasted chicken, but today we’re treating ourselves!

What You’ll Need:

  • One whole chicken broken down (You can either buy it that way or break it down yourself. Or you can do it yourself. Here’s how to break down a chicken.)
  • A lot of canola oil (make sure you have at least one whole bottle)
  • Flour (enough to coat an entire chicken)
  • At least one cup of buttermilk (or sour milk)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • A large skillet (preferably cast iron)
  • A meat thermometer (so much easier to test the chicken)

Put the flour in a large bowl. Season generously with salt, pepper, paprika and a little cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl pour the buttermilk. Take the chicken, and rub some salt and pepper under the skin of the bird. Dip the pieces of chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, then coat it in the flour a second time. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes until the batter turns into a paste on the chicken. This is important!

IMG_2604In your cast iron skillet pour the canola oil in so it will cover at least half of the chicken. Put the stove on high heat and let the oil get very hot (if it start smoking that’s too hot!! Don’t worry it won’t be at this heat the entire time) Drop in the chicken and brown on both sides. Once the chicken is browned, turn the temperature down to medium-low. The oil should still be boiling, but not as intensely. Cook for about 25 minutes to half an hour. Check all the pieces of chicken. The wings will cook much quicker than the breasts. If you’re worried about the wings overcooking, pull them out while like bigger pieces, like the breasts, cook. All of the chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. When the chicken is cooked, turn the oil back up to high heat to crisp up again. Trust me this will make for some very crispy chicken.

Put the chicken on a metal rack to drain or cool. If you don’t have a metal rack don’t worry. I use a broiling pan. Anything that will allow the oil to drip off of it. You can use paper towels, but your chicken will not be as crispy.

For the side of spinach you’ll need:

  • 1 5 oz bag of baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup almond slices
  • a few dashes of salt
  • a few dashes of pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat. Occasionally stir until the spinach has wilted. About 1-2 minutes.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s treat yourself Tuesday!